Jul 27, 2010
04:35 PMThe Wind Machine
On Monday, I participated in a board meeting of the Alliance for Food and Farming, a non-profit organization formed in 1989 and based in California. It is set up to help specialty crop farmers communicate to the public on issues related to food safety and care of the land. The Alliance’s chairman of the board is Matt McInerney of Western Growers, and its two key staff members are Marilyn Dolan and Teresa Thorne.
A timely example of the work of the Alliance is its effort to counteract the unwarranted influence given by the general media to the annual “Dirty Dozen” campaign of the Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, D.C. The EWG loathes synthetic pesticides and would like to see all food uses of them banned. To further its agenda, it annually publishes a list of the twelve produce items that it warns shoppers to avoid because of pesticide residues. The latest “Dirty Dozen” list includes apples, cherries, and peaches.
Earlier this year the Alliance pulled together academic research and expert testimony and then put out its own media statements underscoring the safety and judicious use of agricultural chemicals and the strong regulatory system in place in the United States to protect the health of all consumers. While it is not likely the EWG will back off its publicity campaign (which serves to drive membership, resulting in dues), at least it is now being directly challenged and consumers have greater access to the facts.
The EWG lashed out in a July 15 news release, asserting the Alliance for Food and Farming is nothing but a front group for “industrial produce groups” and “Big Ag.”
Meanwhile, the Northwest Horticultural Council continues its work on behalf of apple, pear, and cherry growers (whether conventional or organic) of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington—and, its support of the Alliance for Food and Farming.